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Posted by GG Goblin On September - 15 - 2017

It’s a fighting game, but different.

Fighting games are a long time staple of the videogames industry, and there are plenty of people out there who like them. However, it is quite easy to say that the majority of them are pretty much the same, just with a different lick of paint. I have never been a big fan of fighting games, finding that my thumbs and memory of combo button presses just don’t work quickly enough to keep me competitive. But then, when a game that offers something different to the fighting genre comes along, I am compelled to have a look.


Sloclap’s Absolver really is something different. A mostly hand to hand fighting game set in a small open world that may, or may not, be filled with other real-world players that could help or hinder. If I wasn’t so bad at fighting games, I may well want to move in.

There is a story behind this interesting new take on the fighting genre, which is a step up on most fighting games. Players take on the role of a Prospect who is on the path to becoming an Absolver, which involves wearing a hockey mask and beating up loads of other people in the the strangely empty world of Adal. I say empty, but of course this open world is filled with other fighters that the player has to confront. It is just that the world feels empty, devoid of life. The players sole purpose in this world seems to be to fight one person, or a group, and then move on to the next, which seems such a waste for a beautifully created open world.

Anyway, as is becoming a bit of a trend just recently, the story telling is on the light side, with the player given very little by way of explanation as to what is actually going on. Players are left to their own devices when making up the lore of this ruined world and the players place in it.


So, as far as fighting games go, Absolver is probably still one up on most fighting games, even with the light story telling. But where the game really shines is in the way that the combat itself looks.

The developers have gone to some lengths to make the melee combat smooth and artistic. The fights flow from one move to the next, more so with a skillful player I am sure, but it even leaves players who are not so adept with fighting games feeling as though they are a martial arts master. Once the player is competent with the controls, and faces off against an opponent of similar skill, the action moves along at a pace that will see the advantage moving back and forth as if truly between two capable fighters. It really is a thing of beauty, even to a clumsy player like myself.

The combat itself is well thought out and doesn’t rely on memorizing complicated button combinations. The player begins by choosing their fighter with one of three different fighting styles, each of which represent a different ability and difficulty for the beginning player. Players can learn new moves from their opponents as they play through the game, simply by using their special ability enough to fill up a bar. Once the move is learned, it is represented by a trading card of sorts, which the player can then use to build a deck that can be triggered in game. Different stances that the player can take and adjust in combat give the possibility of pulling off some amazing flourishes of moves that would rival even the most complex combo found in a standard fighting game.


While the game can be played offline, it does become much more interesting when online and with other players. There is an obvious influence from the Dark Souls games here, in that other players can turn up in your game and lend a hand against the AI opponents, or can simply pick a fight with the player themselves. One on One combat trials are also available for players to test their skill specifically against another player, but there is something fun about the randomness of not knowing if another player will be a friend or foe in the main game that creates a lot of fun.

There are problems however. As already mentioned, the world of Absolver feels lifeless and is simply not very inviting. I can understand that it is simply a melee playground, but I just yearn for something more to come of it, something to give it the same amount of polish as the beautiful flow of combat. There is also a lack of drive to the game. The goal is simply to become the best fighter in the long run, but it really feels like it needs something more. I understand that this is the norm for a fighting game, but Absolver wants to be so much more, it is just missing some essential ingredient.


Sloclap have managed to squeeze in some really great ideas into this fighting game, ideas that mark the game as different from others in the genre. The combat itself is impressive and empowering, even to someone who struggles in such games, and really needs to be experienced to be believed. The customization options and the way players advance with their characters all work well. However, it feels like there is something missing from the game, something to give it life and purpose. As such, Absolver feels like it is only part of what would be an incredibly good game. That being said, if you like fighting games, there is a lot in Absolver to enjoy.




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